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MAB (Via Campesina member) Occupy Headquarters of Belgian Multinational Tractebel

For immediate release:
October 30, 2001

Dam-Affected People Occupy Headquarters of Belgian Multinational Tractebel
in Rio de Janeiro

About 350 men, women, and children from various regions of Brazil, have
taken over the headquarters of the Belgian transnational Tractebel in Rio de
Janeiro. Tractebel is the owner of the utility Gerasul, and is constructing
various dams in Brazil, including Itá (Rio Grande do Sul/Santa Catarina
states) and Cana Brava, on the Tocantins River, central-western region.

The takeover is part of a National Mobilization by the Brazilian Movement of
Dam-Affected People (MAB), with various dams occupied and public
demonstrations taking place in different regions. MAB charges that Tractebel
has failed to address outstanding resettlement and compensation issues at
Itá (200 affected families still with problems unresolved), despite the fact
that the dam is now fully operational.

At Cana Brava, a dam financed by the Inter-American Development Bank, the
situation is even more serious, with hundreds of families still not
receiving compensation, and most of the compensation already proscribed
being of extremely low values which will not permit the rehabilitation of
displaced families. In addition, most of the sharecroppers, renters,
fishermen, and artisanal gold miners who worked along the river are being
ignored by the company, as well as many families who will be isolated by the
formation of the reservoir. According to national coordinator Hélio Mecca of
MAB, "Tractebel has refused to consider the needs of populations who will
lose everything when the floodgates on Cana Brava are closed".

The dam-affected are hoping to convince Tractebel to open negotiations.
Tomorrow, communities affected by the Corumbá IV dam (Goiás state) will be
in Brasília to deliver their complaints to the federal government. Protests
took place yesterday at Manso dam (Mato Grosso) and Fumaça dam (Minas
Gerais), among others. The dam-affected suspended their occupation of the
headquarters of state electric company Furnas, following the company's
agreeing to review resettlement and compensation measures at Manso and at
Serra da Mesa dam.

MAB is working to raise a discussion regarding the construction of a
different energy model for the country, the product of a participatory
debate, which will prioritize energy alternatives and halt the construction
of large dams, which cause incalculable environmental and social damages.

For more information:

MAB National Secretariat +

Brasil | IMF/WB | AGP/PGA